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Hessen boucle with belt

Article about: I would love to hear some opinions on this Hessen buckle with belt. I definitely believe it's authentic, but I just wanted to make sure! Regards Sławek

  1. #11
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    A super buckle and this is just to add a couple of points to David’s comprehensive contributions.

    The formal designation was Großherzogtum Hessen und bei Rhein (Grand Duchy of Hessen and by (the) Rhine) until the monarchy was abolished, or just (Großherzogtum) Hessen-Darmstadt for short, Darmstadt being the state capital. The distinctive brass buckle with the crown was introduced in 1849 as part of the then highly innovative “Virchow’sche Gürtelgepäck” (belt equipment) system of personal equipment introduced in Prussia in 1847. Starting around 1849, all German states successively adopted a version of this type of equipment, usually incorporating a box buckle. According to the regimental history of 1899, IR 115 received the nickle-silver buckle in 1897 as a special mark of distinction. There was one other Hessen unit who had a nickle-silver, as opposed to brass, buckle, namely the Garde-Unteroffiziers-Kompanie, employed on ceremonial duties and recruited from long-serving NCOs. I haven’t found the precise date of introduction, but it is mentioned by Adalbert Mila, Geschichte der Bekleidung und Ausrüstung (1878), p. 88 f., this being my earliest source. The unit received silver-coloured helmet plates in 1872 and silver-coloured buttons and white belts in 1873. It would appear fair to assume it was given the nickle-silver buckle around that time as well.

    There is unfortunately nothing to suggest Hessen-Darmstadt in the period photo shown by weller, but everything to suggest Prussia or perhaps one of the smaller contingents which were uniformed like the Prussians with only minor distinctive features. As has been noted, the man clearly wears a buckle with a round disk, ruling out Hessen.

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